NoMachine NX Desktop on Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin – No menus?

NoMachine NX is a perfect solution to connect to your remote Ubuntu desktop. But ever since Canonical introduced Unity, NoMachine doesn’t seem so perfect anymore: client successfully connects to the NX server, but the menus never show up, and there’s no Unity side bar.

Here’s what works in 12.04 Precise Pangolin:

On the remote machine open up this file: /usr/NX/etc/node.cfg and edit it as a superuser:

sudo vim /usr/NX/etc/node.cfg

Towards the end of the file, look for CommandStartGnome and change it to

CommandStartGnome = "/usr/bin/gnome-session --session=ubuntu-2d"

Save the file, and Unity should now work in 2D mode the next time you connect and the menus and the sidebar will show up.


  1. Robert Brown says:

    It won’t work because it doesn’t support the Unity 3d desktop in version 3.5.0.
    The reasons why are explained here:

    For version 4:
    Supporting Unity 3D and GNOME 3 in NX virtual sessions

    1. drye says:

      Thanks for the explanation. I hope NX4 comes out soon – it seems to be taking forever. Until then the described workaround seems to be a good alternative.

  2. Ed says:

    You can also set the gnome 2 menu with
    CommandStartGnome = “/usr/bin/gnome-session –session=gnome-classic”
    if you installed gnome-shell

    1. El Jorge says:

      This looks like an em-dash. Is it supposed to be double dash?

      1. drye says:

        Yep. Should be double dash.

  3. Paul Kara says:

    Your instructions do not seem to have any effect. No matter what session parameter I provide, NX 3.5 always tries to load Unity-3d. The only thing that fixes the problem is to remove /tmp/unit_* files.

    Any thoughts?

    Is there a way to “restart” the node as you can do with the nxserver executable?

  4. Ubuntu-User says:

    Thanks, that was exactly what I needed.

  5. djaquay says:

    Another thanks. Good to be back using NX.

  6. Zafer says:

    Thank you very much. I did a fresh 12.04.1 installation (was using NX on 10.04LTS before) and your remedy (using CommandStartGnome = “/usr/bin/gnome-session –session=ubuntu-2d”) fixed the issue for me. Cheers

  7. Hari says:

    I almost gave up on being able to run NX on my Ubuntu 12.04 system, when I came across this solution. NX works quite well, with the change to node.cfg. And for those of you who are Mac users, you may want to try Open NX Client, a free nx client that plays nice with nxserver 3.x. You don’t need to upgrade to the paid 4.x version thats supposed to be Mountain Lion compatible.

  8. Steve says:

    There’s a way to do this from the client:

    This worked well for me.

  9. Christophe Meessen says:

    Thank you very much. It worked for me. The other method that consist in setting an application to run in the nxclient doesn’t work. It isdescribed here :

    Also, it doesn’t work if a session on the local host with the account we try to access with nxclient is already opened. Apparently it is because of the presence of some files in /tmp. After closing the local session or using another account it works perfectly.

    I’m very thankful because I want to use Ubuntu Desktop on a rented dedicated server. NoMachine is so easy to use and so efficient, it is excellent. I hope they find a good solution for further Ubuntu releases.

  10. jigglywiggly says:

    this doesn’t work for me.
    it loads the icons fine, but there is no file menu or anything on the desktop. If I don’t do it, no icons show up, so that means nautilus is at least loading
    any ideas

  11. Thanks =)

    This is probably old now, but I got NX4 preview working with GNOME3 now, too slot for remote use though with all the fancy gfx…

  12. Eder says:

    very good, but not working on Ubuntu 13.04
    can anyone help?

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